Yama and Niyama in life

I work in healthcare and through my line of work and my area of specialty, I have seen sufferings. Sufferings which comes in many forms, from the most common physical illness to psychological pain inflicted on oneself and to others. Sufferings that I told myself that I wouldn’t want to be in, where one is breathing and alive yet there is no life, and had to be dependent on others for everything until one’s last breath. I have decided that I don’t have to live to a ripe old age but that for as long as I am alive, I would want to be mobile, clear minded, pain free, sickness free and happy. Everything else is secondary. The richest or most powerful person in the world could buy or order is anything but health. That lead me on a journey to seek health, to eliminate the pain and sickness that I have already started to accumulate over the years of indulgence in my early years of life.
I realised traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can help with my various conditions when I was going nowhere from taking western medicine for my recurring ear infection as a result of my sinusitis, thus started my long relationship with TCM. I adhered very strictly to the TCM advices and totally changed my lifestyle and diet. I even avoided meeting my friends due to my diet restrictions so much so that some of my friends stopped asking me out. I have no regrets. I believe in no pain, no gain, especially as my health improved and I actually can feel my body reacting when I occasionally over-indulge in the old ways again.
Niyama and Yama are part of the eight limbs of Yoga, from ancient Indian sage. Yama can be loosely translated as ‘rein or rather restrain that we place on ourselves on purpose in directing our path in life’. Niyama refers to ‘duties directed towards ourselves’ or ‘inner observance’. Tapas is the second point of Niyama, Tapas can be translated loosely as self-discipline and having passion and courage towards one’s belief. Thus, it is reasonable that a certain amount of effort and even perseverance are needed to achieve what I strive to achieve, which is ultimately for the benefits of myself. Some might say that I was too harsh on myself or even extreme, yet I believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to care for oneself, instead of indulging in the temporary, fleeting pleasures, such as staying up late at night to play games and watch TV programs, over eating, etc., that can cause ‘bodily’ harm and face consequences in years to come. Brahmacharya, 4th point of Yama, describe exactly that. Nothing in extreme is ever good. It is always necessary to strike a balance. Ahimsa, the first of Yama, means nonviolence towards another person, physical, words or even just thoughts. However, I believe it applies not just to others but to oneself When a person starves the whole day and gorge himself with food late at night, that is a kind of abuse to one’s body, in order to follow trend to lose weight.
Out action stems from our beliefs. And our beliefs are related to our values about life, which can lead us to make decisions that will influence our future, and directly and /or indirectly people around us, for better or worse. I am happy that my family and some friends has followed my new way of living after observing the changes I had gone through.